The 1996 welfare reform bill has subjected a generation of families to increased poverty and poor health outcomes.
Twenty years ago this week President Bill Clinton signed a historic welfare reform bill formally known as the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.With this legislation Clinton promised to ‘end welfare as we know it.’(ed: was clinton channelling ruth ‘strewth’ richardson…?..that is the promise she made – and executed – and what the clark labour govt did not a jot to rectify – in fact they cut financial support options even more – i remember well clark saying she was cutting that ‘welfare’ for those most in need/families – with the aim of creating ‘a level playing field’..(how ideologically ‘cute’ was that..?..eh..?..)..so yes richardson/shipley were the architects of that ‘ending welfare as we know it’ – but helen clark/labour also stepped up to the plate – and finished what they had started....don’t forget – that recent $20 increase for (some) families (and with more clawback hooks than a long-line off ninety-mile beach) was the first increase/’clawback’ from that devastation wreaked by richardson/shipley/clark in 42(?) years..now that is a ‘level-playing field’..eh..?..and one that helen clark/labour helped create..we should not forget that fact about clark/labour..)
Ten years ago he wrote an op-ed in The New York Times declaring it a success.Now 20 years on the transformation of the welfare system is complete but the question remains: What kind of transformation has it been and what has it meant for poor families in the U.S.?
A new report from the Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice at the University of California Berkeley finds that some key provisions have not only failed poor families – but exacerbated poverty – increased instability and worsened health outcomes for the families involved.
Let’s start with some important history.